Inline Downhill UK (IDUK) has recently taken its first steps to introducing the sport of downhill racing to the UK. IDUK was started by veteran of the sport, Grant du Plessis. Originally from South Africa, he now lives in the UK. Having competed in world class events Grant achieved the rank of Number 1 in South Africa back in 2000 and again in 2001.  He also achieved World number 2 on the IGSA, International Gravity Sports Association, world points ranking around the same time. As well as being an accomplished extreme sports athlete, Grant was the South African representative for the sports world governing body, IIDA, International Inline Downhill Association.


In 2003 he stepped away from the sport to concentrate on traveling and nurtured a career in the live events industry.  Through his career as a video technician he  has been lucky enough to tour with some of the most popular bands and artists in the world.


More recently, Grant decided to give in to his long lost passion and rekindle his love of gravity sports. Having reintroduced himself to the scene, Grant was voted in as the UK representative for IIDA and has set up IDUK, the unofficial governing body of the sport in the UK.


In Europe, inline downhill competitions have a large following.  Each event  attracts as many as 60 inline riders and a great number of  spectators. Various countries around the globe host well organized free-rides and top level races.


Around six or seven IIDA sanctioned World Championship events are held each year to decide who the best in world will be. Switzerland and France in particular are home to some of the best runs and they host a lot of the biggest events. Some of the other countries that host world class events include Germany, Spain, Austria, America, Canada and Australia.


Inline downhill has so far not taken off in the mainstream of gravity sports in the UK. Grant believes this is down to the fact that potential riders have not been given the opportunity and guidance to truly take advantage of such an amazing adrenalin sport. “In fact gravity sports in general have not been given the recognition they need in the UK for athletes to become respected players on the world stage.”


By joining forces with other gravity sport disciplines like skateboard and street luge, Grant hopes to steer the sport and the athletes towards great things. He is currently looking to put together a UK team to head over to Europe next year for a few of the IIDA world cup events and give the French, Italian and German riders a run for their money. There is also talk of putting together the UK's first IIDA and IDUK sanctioned downhill race in conjunction with other gravity racing disciplines.

 

A few of the top men's riders in the world today are Harry Perna, Alexandre Lebrun, Danial Ladurner and Davide Tecchini, who is also the current IIDA president. In the women's division Séverine Christ-Thomas is the current world champion, followed by the legendary Miss'ile riders Marjorie Phlippoteau in second place and Marie Marchand in third.

With riders achieving top speeds recorded at up to 80 miles an hour, inline downhill racing is without a doubt one of the fastest of the extreme sports and is not for the faint hearted.


Inline Downhill is a high speed roller sport similar to Alpine downhill ski racing. This form of racing is as mentally demanding as it is physically.  It is not just flat out speed and choosing the best line that counts. Between four and six riders hit the course at the same time, so sprinting,  slipstreaming and passing maneuvers are also integral components of each race strategy.

WHAT IS INLINE DOWNHILL

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